Scrabble to Scrabulous: Cease (7 points) and Desist (also 7 points)

I am an average Scrabble player. This troubles me as I consider myself to be a maven (10 points) of the English language, a connoisseur (13) of words and an expert of exposition (19). My averageness (you might want to challenge that one) is all the more exposed by the feverishly popular Scrabulous game on Facebook, an unauthorized online version of the Hasbro/Mattel classic. Everyone on my friends list can see my .500 record and I just know they’re judging me.

The game, created by two brothers in Calcutta, India has more than 600,000 players on Facebook and its popularity has prompted the copyright owners to take action through a cease-and-desist letter. While I won’t comment on the legality of the game, the communication play has been textbook:

The companies jointly issued cease-and-desist notices to four parties involved in the development, hosting and marketing of Scrabulous, according to a letter Hasbro is sending consumers who have contacted them about Scrabulous.

In a separate statement released Wednesday, Hasbro was not specific about who the four parties are, but said it was reviewing a number of options with them and hoped to find an amicable solution.

“If we cannot come to one quickly, we will be forced to close down the site and its associated distribution points,” Hasbro said.

Hasbro is clearly on the offensive yet they’re softening their message with an olive branch of an amicable solution which puts the onus on Scrabulous to concede. As well, the company’s statements repeatedly refer to concerned fans of the board game who are complaining about the rogue online spawn. It’s impossible to tell how many minions of devoted Scrabble fans sought the protection of Hasbro, but even the thought paints the toy brand in a sympathetic light.

19 Stractical points to Scrabble. You better shake the little velvet bag well, Scrabulous. It’s your move.

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